Image above: Turner Snow Storm – Steam Boat off Harbour’s Mouth 1842
Lectures, collections, film
Wednesday 11 October 2017 Monet and the Seine River (Speaker: Professor Anthea Callen, ANU and University of Nottingham) AGNSW
Importance of water – light and reflection – leading to the waterlily paintings and the foundations of modern abstraction. Impression, Sunrise, 1872, key painting, exhibited in 1874 at the first impressionist exhibition, seen as a study not a finished work hence the adoption of the term ‘impressionist’. Water a key theme throughout Monet’s life, studies began between Paris and the coast. Reflective powers of water, new dimension central to germination of the impressionist movement. Change in shape and format, composition of horizon with Fishing Boats at Le Havre (c.1866) abstract composition, cut out the skyline, reflected in the water, flatter plane. Worked from nature, outside in the tradition of French en plein air painting which started from the 1840s. What was painted outside became valued in its own right. By 1870s artists could buy kits for painting outdoors including new colours in tubes. Colleagues included Bazille, Renoir, Sisley. Influenced by Boudin who encourage him to make studies outside. Bathers at la Grenouillére, 1869 multiple perspective, looking down then across and straight ahead, high vanishing point. By 1870 the group had largely split up. In The Beach at Trouville, 1870, patches of the grey primed canvas show through. Purchased a boat, a floating studio, which produced unusual compositions from river level such as the abstract Four Poplars, 1891. Japanese prints, and the inclusion of footbridges, a key influence on compositions. Waterlilies, Le Bassin aux nympheas, 1907-1916 no horizon, overwhelming scale, radical for the time.
Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), 1872
Fishing Boats at Le Havre, c.1866
Bathers at la Grenouillére, 1869
The Beach at Trouville, 1870
Four Poplars, 1891
Le Bassin aux nympheas, 1907-1919
Wednesday 20 September 2017 Sally Gabori and Bentick Island (Speaker: Bruce Johnson McLean, Curator, Queensland Art Gallery) AGNSW
Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori (c.1924–2015) started painting in 2005 at the age of 81, after making contact with Mornington Island Arts and Crafts Centre. Within eight months exhibiting work of a type no-one had seen before. Painting every day, she went on to produce over 1,000 works in the last ten years of her life. A senior Kaiadilt woman artist from Dulka Warngiid (Bentinck) Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland. Gabori’s Aboriginal name relates to her totem: Mirdidingkingathi refers to the place of her birth, Mirdidingki, and Juwarnda means ‘black dolphin’. Prior to the arrival of missionaries in the region, she lived a traditional life acquiring the skills and knowledge of her people, including the arts of rolling bark string and making dilly bags and coolamons. She also played a vital role in maintaining the stone-walled fish traps on the shores of the island, which provided the majority of the food supply. At the age of 20, all her people on the island were moved to Mornington Island due to cyclones, massive flooding and loss of fresh water supplies. Unable to move back to her homeland she retained connection in her mind in song. Her works demonstrate a confidence and energy derived from a lifetime of experiences distilled to their most potent visual form. The colours in her work represent the flashes of light and colour of the water, coral reefs, fish, the intertidal zones. The work Ninjilki, (2006), in the collection of the Musée du quai Branly, Paris, represents the Nyinyilki lagoon. In the 1980s following granting of land rights, she returned to her homeland on a regular basis.
Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi Country – Topway, 2006
Sally Gabori, Ninjilki, 2006
Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi country, 2010
Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi Country, 2012
Wednesday 13 September 2017 Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp – Dutch Landscape Painting in the 17th Century (Speaker: Peter Raissis, Curator, AGNSW) AGNSW
During the 17th century painters in the northern Netherlands created a type of naturalistic landscape that was wholly new to European art and it strongly influenced Western landscape painting for the next 200 years. An appreciation of nature for its own sake, to describe the look and feel of country as accurately as possible, some are often a mixture of topographical fact and artistic fiction. The Dutch republic the richest in the century, a self-confident period where art was made for the market, ruled by the middle class, the burghers. Paul Brill A wooded landscape with a bridge and sportsmen at the edge of the river (1590s) a precursor, with the use of light and dark in angle accession results in recession. In 17th century there were two streams: southern Mediterranean Rome (classical) and Northern Dutch. Poussin staged landscapes heroic rigorous order, Claude important influence on the Dutch. Dutch achieved quality of realism which portrayed recognisable scenery, most painted in studios from sketches made in the field, often edited to improve on nature, Ruisdael’s The Castle at Benheim (1653) exaggeration of the size of the castle. By the mid 17th century nature started to dominate over people in Jan van Goyen Landscape with two oaks (1641), uncluttered, colour has almost disappeared, dramatic, tonal, captures mood of nature. Jacob van Ruisdael most important painter of the age produced over 700 landscapes, Dunes (early 1650s), plein air effect, influenced Corot, Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede (1670) iconic work, windmills state of the art technology in flood mitigation, produced a series bleaching fields at Haarlem in the 1660s featuring 70-75 cloud formations, with two thirds of the paintings devoted to the sky View of Haarlem with bleaching grounds (1670-75), The Jewish cemetery (1654-55) laden with allegoric and symbolic meaning, Winter landscape with two windmills (1675-80) later work limited tonal palette, dominant sky. Aelbert Cuyp A River scene with distant windmills (1640-42), The Valkhof at Nijmegen (1650s), luminosity of the sky, tonal paintings (after Claude).
Jacob van Ruisdael, Dunes (early 1650s)
Jacob van Ruisdael, View of Haarlem with bleaching grounds (1670-75)
Jacob van Ruisdael, The Jewish cemetery (1654-55)
Jacob van Ruisdael, Winter landscape with two windmills (1675-80)
Aelbert Cuyp A River scene with distant windmills (1640-42)
Aelbert Cuyp, The Valkhof at Nijmegen (1650s)
Wednesday 6 September 2017 Abdulnasser Gharem and contemporary Saudi Arabia (Speaker: Dr Mikala Tai, RMIT, and The University of Melbourne)
In Place and Politics (1987), John Agnew contends that for a space to become a ‘place’, three requirements need to be met
- A specific location, something that answers the question, ‘Where?’ in relation to everywhere else.
- A locale – the actual shape of the space, such as defined by the walls in a room or parks and streets in a city, etc. but usually associated with everyday activities (work, recreation, etc.)
- A sense of place – the personal and emotional attachment people have to a place
Saudi Arabia’s Islamic art tradition through calligraphy, unique geometric tile designs, music and poetry, but austere and conservative, and now a dynamic and enabling culture with interaction with the international art world. Abdulnasser Gharem from a small town, worked in the military up until 2014, no formal art training. When he joined the military it gave him access to the internet and he used it to seek out information on artists from around the world. In 2004 Gharem and the Al-Meftaha artists staged a group exhibition, Shattah. in Saudi Arabia. Since then he has shown his work in embassies in Saudi Arabia, and extensively overseas including at the Tate, Venice Biennale 2011, most recently in April-July 2017 an exhibition at LACMA. Actively working within cultural boundaries. In April 2011, his installation Message/Messenger sold for a world record price at auction in Dubai for $US 842,500. His father owned a furniture store which provides some background to the making of his work. In 2003 he used proceeds from the sale of his works to set up the non-profit arts initiative Edge of Arabia. Most works like The Capitol Dome (2012) are made overseas as those made in Saudi Arabia cannot leave the country. His stamp paintings are made up of rubber stamps, derived from life in the military which was bureaucratic, a world populated with procedures, protocol and paperwork — “rejected,” “accepted,” “check paid,” stamps, and a commentary on bureaucracy that controls every aspect of life. His rubber stamp works include hidden messages, read backward, like a stamp, include works Camouflage (2014), Concrete Block (Red and White) (2013). Established Gharem Studio, Riyadh in 2013 to foster interaction for younger artists, a community transforming effect of education, developing an ecology for freedom of thought.
The Capitol Dome, 2012
Wednesday 30 August 2017 Rosalie Gascoigne and the Monaro (Speaker: Kelly Gellatly, Director, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne)
No formal art training, at age 57 emerged as fully formed artist to begin exhibiting in 1974. In 1982 first female Australian artist at Venice Biennale. Rapid ascension in the art world. Left New Zealand in 1943 set up home with her astronomer husband in the isolated scientific community of Mount Stromlo near Canberra. Spent seventeen years raising her family there. Experienced isolation and sought solace in nature, collecting found materials around Canberra hinterland central to her practice. Flower arranging (1955-62), probably exhibited in Canberra, noted for innovative use of materials. In 1960 moved to Canberra. Influence of Japanese art form Sogetsu Ikebana, training gave discipline to her art, line and form. Disillusioned with the hierarchical approach, didn’t fit the Australian landscape, gave up Ikebana in 1973, but still present in her later works like Balance 1984. Soft drink crates significant works. Homage to Colin McCahon in Age of Innocence 1993 and Suddenly the Lake 1995. In Monaro, 1989 importance of the poetry of David Campbell which captures the contemplative experience of the Monaro plains. From form and line, shifted palette (yellow, blue, red, earth) significantly over time. A lot of the work focusses on being in the landscape. Inspired amongst others by the artists Colin McCahon, Ken Whisson, Dick Watkins, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Rosalie Gascoigne, Tesserae 4, 1989
Rosalie Gascoigne, Monaro, 1989
Rosalie Gascoigne, Suddenly the Lake, 1995
Rosalie Gascoigne, The Apple Isle, 1994-5
Rosalie Gascoigne, Full Fathom Five, 1998
Thursday 24 August 2017 Voyaging through Pacific Islands and Collections: Encounters with Captain Cook (Speakers: Dr Jenny Newell, Manager East Pacific Collection, and Dr Michael Mel, Manager West Pacific Collection) Australian Museum
Presentation of items from the collection: traded, ‘acquired’, or given to Cook on his voyages Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea,), Tuamotus, Marquesas, Vanuatu
Some of the items discussed or presented
Heva Mourning Dress, Society Islands
Ahu-parau – Pearl-cloth ornament, Society Islands – collected on Cook’s second or third voyage (1772-1780)
Hawaiian feather cloak collected from Hawaii in 1778 during Cook’s third voyage
Wednesday 23 August 2017 Land Art, from Robert Smithson to Agnes Denes (Speaker: Dr Michael Hill, Art History and Theory, National Art School) AGNSW
Art movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s fostered by environmentalism, to capture the physicality of the site and the cultural meaning of the site.
Raw Nature and Natural Process: Jannis Kounellis Dry Stone Wall, 1969
Small Gallery vs Large World: Yoko Ono Sky TV, 1966
Beyond the Gallery – Earth Art: Michael Heizer Double Negative Nevada, 1969. Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake Utah, 1970
Site Specific – Celebration of Nature: Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels, Great Basin Desert, Utah, 1976. Walter de Maria, Lightening Field, New Mexico, 1977
Back to the Gallery as Site: Walter de Maria, New York Earth Room, 1977
Jessica Stockholder St Clementines, New York 1988
Revealing the Site: Christo and Jeanne Claude, Wrapped Coast, Little Bay Sydney, 1968. Christo and Jeanne Claude, Running Fence, California, 1973
Land Rehabilitation: Robert Morris Johnson Pit, Washington State, 1979
Ecology and Environmentalism: Alan Sonfist, Time Landscape, New York, 197
Intervention and Site: Richard Serra Tilted Arc, New York, 1981 (only lasted six months due to public backlash). Agnes Denes Wheatfield – A Confrontation, Manhattan, 1982
Wednesday 16 August 2017 Frank Hinder, Brett Whiteley, Tracey Moffatt and New York (Speaker: Craig Judd, curator and artist) AGNSW
New York: infernal dynamism, glamour, poetic questing energy, and unique possibilities of an urban environment with a total population close to that of Australia. These qualities affected the three very different Australian artists.
Frank Hinder (1906-1992) modernist dreamer. Studied under Rubbo and Dadswell. In Chicago honed design skills, synthetic cubism. Studied at NY School of Fine Arts. Moved back to Australia in 1934. First solo exhibition in 1937. US experience in non-objective abstraction led to 1939 first non-objective exhibition held in Australia
Brett Whiteley (1939-1992) self-styed tragic genius. Arrived in NY on a scholarship at age 22, after London and the Christie series. Lived at the Chelsea Hotel, a retreat for many well known artists, writers, musicians, etc., took risks in a culture of explosive energy, saw himself as an art visionary which got in the way of his art, resulted in The American Dream (1968) a grandiose work. On return to Australia produced Alchemy (1973) a reflection on American life, influenced by Bosch. Interior with Times Past (1976) another important work post NY.
Tracey Moffatt (1960-) probably Australia’s most successful international artist. Lived in NY from 1980s onwards. 1995 work Roller Derby set trajectory to success in the US, Guapa (Good looking) (1995) the frenetic world of roller-derby girls, Heaven (1997) the ultimate voyeur as she videotaped male surfers publicly dressing and undressing at Bondi Beach. Scarred for Life (1994) use of text to frame work about life, folk tales. Invocations (2000) stories of childhood, about witchcraft and magic, lost and found child. My First Job (2008) some of her most successful work. The Body Remembered in the 2017 Venice Biennale, a timelessness to her work.
Frank Hinder, Acton ACT, 1942
Frank Hinder, Tram Kaliedoscope, 1948
Frank Hinder, Over the Bridge, 1957
Brett Whiteley, Interior with Times Past, 1976
Tracey Moffatt, Useless, 1974, from the series Scarred for Life
Tracey Moffatt, Something more, 1989, from the Something More series
Tracey Moffatt, The Body Remembered, 2017 Venice Biennale
Wednesday 9 August 2017 The Heidelberg School: Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Jane Sutherland, Frederick McCubbin (Speaker: Georgina Cole, Art History, National Art School) AGNSW
In the 1880s the Heidelberg School introduced progressive European painting techniques, open-ended treatment of form and atmosphere, invited the viewer to complete the picture in their imagination to create relationship with the bush. Roberts, inspired by Buvelot, painting directly from nature, a deliberate attempt to turn away from tradition. Another influence Whistler Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea, 1871, tonal studies linked to music. Bastien-Lepage another influence, tonal compressed composition. Before his return to Australia in 1885, Roberts painted A Moorish Doorway in Spain in 1883 with light and colour, where colour is used to represent the form rather than line and tone. The naturalistic quality of light and tone combined with en plein air work to achieve naturalism. Ordinary subjects like A Quiet Day on Darebin Creek 1885 progressive techniques, shifting tones on the embankment, field of shifting forms rather than object of interest. The Artists’ Camp (1886) shows the emergence of plein air painting, the intimacy of nature and the artists, spatial relationships move and shift. McCubbin’s Lost (1886) middle-ground and background merged, cool tonality, little contrast light and dark, reduced scale. Jane Sutherland’s Obstruction, Box Hill (1887) constrained composition typical of the Heidelberg School, place non-descript with a note of tension. Streeton’s Fires On has typical spatial compression.
Tom Roberts, A Moorish Doorway, 1883
Tom Roberts, Quiet Day on Darebin Creek, 1885
Tom Roberts, The Artists’ Camp, 1886
Frederick McCubbin, Lost, 1886
Jane Sutherland, Obstruction, Box Hill, 1887
Charles Conder, Coogee Bay, 1888
Arthur Streeton, Fires On, 1891
Wednesday 2 August 2017 Kandinsky and Klee in Tunisia (Speaker: Professor Roger Benjamin, Art History, University of Sydney) AGNSW
Kandinsky and his partner Gabriele Münter spent three months in Tunisia in 1905. Joined by Klee and August Macke. Macke was killed in the WWI in 2014. Kandinsky’s Arab Cemetery (1909) shows encounter with fauve movement (Derain, Matisse), colour scheme not based on representation. Impression V (park) (1911) move to abstraction. Over the decade both Kandinsky and Klee moved towards abstraction. For Klee in 1914, ancient Moorish architecture, intense colour and indigenous art helped him perfect cubistic pictorial architecture.
Kandinsky Arab Cemetery (1909)
Kandinsky Impression V (park) (1911)
Klee View towards the Harbour at Hammamet (1914)
Klee Hammamet with Mosque (1914)
Thursday 27 July 2017 Art, Culture and Landscapes of Morocco (Speaker: Kenneth Park) AGNSW
Kingdom of Morocco, land of contrast from the sands of the Sahara to the snow-capped mountains of the Atlas Mountains. Marrakesh inland city oasis, trading city. Across the High Atlas Mountains, to the desert towns of Ouarzazate and its mud brick houses, and Erfoud main industry rose water and perfumes, turning north to Fez royal city, Chefchaouen the blue city, and the artisanal workshops of Tétouan, to Tangier, down the Atlantic Coast to the country’s capital, Rabat. Matisse in Morocco from 1912
Moroccan Landscape (Acanthus), 1911-13
Window at Tangier, 1911-12
The Moroccans, 1915-16
Wednesday 26 July 2017 Matisse and the Golden Light of Collioure (Speaker: Lorraine Kypiotis) AGNSW
Matisse first went to Collioure in 1905 (he was 35), it was a turning point in his art practice. Collioure is a catalan Port Town on the Spanish border between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Cezanne major influence, Matisse kept Les Trois Baigneuses (The Three Bathers) for 35 years. The intense colours of Collioure produced sun filled paintings that became known as ‘fauvism’, the central tenet to paint not the object but the effect it produces, light through the opposition of colours. Construction by coloured surfaces, intensity of colour where the subject matter became unimportant, light expressed by a harmony of intensely coloured surfaces. Le Goûter, Golfe de Saint-Tropez 1904, Luxe, Calme, Volupte 1904 reference to pointtilism (Seurat, Signac) followed by Landscape at Collioure 1905. Open Window, Collioure (1905) construction of image with colour, denied depth, tone contrast abandoned light through opposition of colour. Interior at Collioure (1905) interplay of space and perspective, denial of volume and depth, focus on picture plane and colour not on representation. Matisse worked with Derain every day in 1905 at Collioure. Inspired by Gaugin’s use of colours. Transformation in 1905 with Femme au Chapeau, controversial use of discordant colours. With The Green Line 1905 light and shadow transformed into colour, clashing harmony. Change of direction again with Les Aloes Collioure 1907, flat harmonic style. By 1908 Matisse’s fauve period was over, his aim to simplify and clarify, nature and the spirit of the painting, balance, harmony, and dissonance.
Femme au Chapeau 1905
The Green Line 1905
Les Aloes Collioure 1907
Wednesday 19 July 2017 Colin McCahon and Muriwai (Speaker: Justin Paton, Head Curator International Art AGNSW) AGNSW
Place and the power of art i.e. seeing places the way artists teach you to see. Influenced by symbolic painters Guston, Spencer, Rothko. Concerned with the loss of signs and symbols in much modern art. Early work Takaka: Night and Day (1948) geological bones, genesis landscape, symbol of the human condition. The Angel of the Annunciation (1947) raw early work. In 1950s and 1960s always asking questions. Awareness of abstract expressionists, abstraction, began reducing works many in black and white. Flounder fishing, night, French bay (1957), Northland panels (1958), Tomorrow will be the same but not as this is (1958), Painting (1958). Moved to west coast of North Island, New Zealand, to Muriwai. Here I give thanks to Mondrian (1961), Waterfall (1964), Victory over death 2 (1970), View from top of a cliff (1971). During the 1970s simplification, sublime, romantic, sacred, bi-cultural, major exploration of indigenous culture, concern with environmental degradation, the role of art in a post-religious culture. The Song of the Shining Cuckoo (1974).
Takaka: Night and Day (1948)
Victory over death 2 (1970)
Wednesday 28 June 2017 David Hockney: a bigger splash in California (Speaker: Steven Miller, curator, AGNSW)
From Yorkshire where he worked as a farm hand in his youth. Initially failed general studies at art school (Royal College of Art 1962), and produced his own diploma in protest (in AGNSW collection) eventually granted a pass and awarded the gold medal for painting. Early influences Walter Sickert and Spencer Gore. Moved to California in his mid-twenties and was based there for 50 years. Works of the 1960s and 1970s regarded as some of his most successful works. Returned to Yorkshire in 1990s, his return to his roots has produced works that are making him perhaps the greatest English landscape painters since Turner. Key works and later landscapes: A Bigger Splash (1967) meticulous technique with a dig at the macho abstract expressionists; Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980) move away from perspective; Pearblossom Highway (1986) uses photo montage to break space, multiple vanishing points; North Yorkshire (1997) sense of expansiveness, perspective, contours, horizons on horizons; The Road across the Wolds (1997) high horizon departure from the importance of sky in traditional English landscapes; Garrowby Hill (1998) no atmospherics, recalls Matisse and Van Gogh rather than the meticulously rendered compositions typical of his earlier work; A Bigger Grand Canyon (1998) technical, depiction of space and the experience of being within a space; Yorkshire Sketchbook (2004) spontaneous and spiritual, 2012 major exhibition watercolours and drawings.
A Bigger Splash (1967)
Pearblossom Highway (1986)
Wednesday 21 June 2017 Julie Gough and Judy Watson: The Memory of Place (Speaker: Stephen Gilchrist, Associate Lecturer, Art History, University of Sydney) AGNSW
Themes of political invisibility, dislocation, cultural memory, politics of place.
Judy Watson (Waanyi people northwest Queensland): pigment soaked canvasses, works intuitively through listening to oral histories, travelling into country, and research of official records. The work names of the natives includes a yellow clay pot which represents contact with the Macassans in the 18th century probably over more than 200 years before European contact. bunya represents the lifecycle of regeneration.
Julie Gough (Trawlwoolway people Tasmania): work counteracts the selective accounts of Tasmanian history, her self-involvement in historical narratives, gathering the past into the present. Dark Valley, Van Dieman’s Land refers in part to the Tasmanian shell necklace tradition, a gap in the inheritance of that tradition from immediate family, and how the processes of dispossession of Country: colonisation: farming, hunting, mining are in part responsible for this gap. Made from coal ‘the darkest coldest blackness of our ancient island’s core, the antlers represent the avoidance and anxiety across Tasmania in terms of the unwillingness /inability to present colonial history as also Tasmanian Aboriginal history’. Bind, ‘a giant length of Tasmanian sagg or lomandra plant collected and twined and strung with black crow shells from four places in Tasmania. The shells are spaced to present as an unreadable calendar – indicative of months, decades, generations, events connecting Aboriginal people, places and practices in Tasmania’
Judy Watson, museum piece, 1998
Judy Watson, names of the natives, 2010
Judy Watson, bunya, 2011
Julie Gough, Dark Valley, Van Dieman’s Land, 2008
Julie Gough, Bind, 2008
Wednesday 14 June 2017 John Russell: Belle-Ile and Antibes in the fin-de-siècle (Speaker: Wayne Tunnicliffe) AGNSW
Wealthy Australian expatriate who built a grand house on Belle-Île-en-Mer off the coast of Brittany. Studied at the Slade School in London (under Alphonse Legros) from 1881 to 1883, and at the Atelier Cormon, Paris, from 1885 to 1887, where he formed a friendship with Vincent van Gogh, which resulted in the famous portrait of van Gogh (1886) now in the collection of the van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Painting at a time when French impressionism was at its height, associated with Rodin, Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, Sisley. Visitors to Belle-Ile included Monet, Rodin, Matisse. Russell spent twenty years painting at Belle–Ile–en-Mer. Influenced by Degas, cropping from photography, reference to Japanese prints (like van Gogh), intensity of colour. Paintings of Antibes feature looser brushwork, proto-fauve. Almost drowned Rodin in a boating incident, referred to in Rodin’s letter 1903.
Les Aiguilles de Belle-Ile, c 1890 AGWA
Landscape, Antibes (The Bay of Nice), 1891, NGA
Antibes, c 1890-1892, AGNSW
Storm, Belle Ile, 1905, AGNSW
Wednesday 7 June 2017 Constantin Brancusi and the Garden of Jewels (Speaker: Ron Ramsey) AGNSW
Birds in Space, purchased by the National Gallery of Australia in 1973 (more than what was paid for Blue Poles, $1.3 million, but without the media hysteria). Brancusi designed the birds for a palace temple for the Maharaja of Indore, who wanted them and two other sculptures to stand around a square mirror of water in a temple for meditation. Brancusi went to India in 1937 to begin work on the temple, but it was never built. Born in Hobița, Romania where woodcarving was a central activity. The houses were built (in a pre-industrial revolution manner) of wood without nails. Brancusi ran away from home age 11, after some years in service, went onto art school in Bucharest and then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Romanian folk art influenced his work. He famously walked from Bucharest to near Paris, some nuns gave him money for a train ticket for the remainder of the journey. Friends and contemporaries included Amedeo Modigliani, Ezra Pound, Henri Pierre Roché, Guillaume Apollinaire, Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Rousseau, Peggy Guggenheim and Fernand Léger. Employed in Rodin’s studio, lasted one month, disagreed with methods. Early major work The Prayer (1907), simplified form. Differentiated the essential from the ephemeral. The Kiss (1907-08) influenced by Gauguin carvings from Tahiti. The plinth is integral to the sculptures, he created bases for his works. Bird sculptures grouped under three titles: Maiastra; Golden Bird; Bird in Space. Finish and surface highly polished, edges disappear. Derived from folk tales such as The Firebird (Brancusi probably saw Diaghilev’s Ballet 1913).
The Prayer, 1907
The Kiss, 1907-08
Maiastra, 1912, Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Golden Bird, 1920, Chicago Art Institute
Birds in Space, 1931-36, National Gallery of Australia
Wednesday 31 May 2017 Georgia O’Keeffe and New Mexico (Speaker: Denise Mimmocchi) AGNSW
Studied under Arthur Wesley Dow, emphasis on structure, density, colour, lights and darks, an alternative to realism. By the mid-1920s, O’Keeffe recognized as one of America’s most important and successful artists, known for her paintings of New York skyscrapers, an essentially American image of modernity, as well as flowers. Influenced by Japanese art and Kandinsky. In the summer of 1929, O’Keeffe made the first trip to northern New Mexico. Inspired a new direction in her artwork. Spent the last 37 years of her life in New Mexico. Minimal, powerful, cultivated sense of spirituality, influence of Indian culture, no figurative description, simplification, abstract essence of place, intimate spacing, still atmosphere, magnified image of place distilled into contours.
Wednesday 17 May 2017 Sir John Everett Millais – the Allure of Scotland (Speaker: Dr Alison Inglis, Professor of Art History, University of Melbourne) AGNSW
Child prodigy, won a place at the Royal Academy schools at age eleven. At age 19-21 one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (with William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti) un-idealised paintings, experience, truth to nature. From 1870s lived and painted in Scotland. Dramatic evocation of geology and the landscape.
Chill October (1870) early landscape time of day and seasons.
Autumn Leaves (1856) about mood and feeling
Lingering Autumn (1880) sky, space, mood.
Late landscapes innovative, reflect physical experience, move away from the sublime and picturesque. Late landscapes being re-evaluated.
Waterfall at Glenfinlas (1853)
Flowing to the River (1871)
Lingering Autumn (1880)
Wednesday 10 May 2017 Eugene von Guérard and Cape Schanck (Speaker: Dr Ruth Pullin) AGNSW
Travelled extensively made detailed drawings: Italy, Germany, Australia (28 years), New Zealand. Work captures the essence of place. Vantage points carefully selected, the picture in nature, character of place. Painted Milford Sound (1977-79) from sketches after spending one day in the location. Influenced by Alexander von Humboldt who encouraged artists to visit remote areas. Sketchbooks held by State Library NSW. Rock drawings with geological detail, understanding of geological formations. Scientists and artists visited Cape Schanck, convergence of the romantic and scientific. Accompanied several scientific expeditions. Oil sketches painted on location. Painting directly from nature part of his practice.
Castle Rock, Cape Schanck (1865)
Wednesday 3 May 2017 Caspar David Friedich, Rugen and the Northern Sublime (Speaker: Mark Ledbury) AGNSW
Northern sublime and romanticism, complex aesthetic, spiritual and political. Avid walker, contemplation of heights, panoramic views, his landscape paintings a compilation of many drawings. The concept of the sublime is more than the beautiful or picturesque, it has elements of danger, turbulence, threat, it propelled landscape painting in 18th century and beyond. Friedrich’s paintings encompass the sublime, romanticism, human smallness in nature, German folklore, often feature a vast amount of empty space.
The Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog (1818), Kunsthalle, Hamburg
The Chalk Cliffs at Rugen (1818), Museum Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur
The North Sea in Moonlight (1823-24), Narodni Galerie, Prague
Wednesday 26 April 2017 JMW Turner and the Sea (Speaker: Jane Messenger) AGNSW
First landscape exhibited Fishermen at Sea, light and mood, followed Rembrandt’s use of light. Use of light as a narrative structure, movement, light and air, experience of the sensation of place. Influenced Monet and Pissarro. Changed style in 1830s, colour beginnings, sketches in watercolour used for oil paintings, eliminated the need for underpainting. Yellow, blues, red, light over dark washes to capture atmosphere, compositional structure. In the oils use of palette knife and impasto. Burial at Sea symbolic use of colour. In his later works not interested in representation but in nature, shifting energy.
Fishermen at Sea (1796) oil
The Bass Rock (1824) watercolour
Coastal Terrain (1830-45) watercolour
Stormy Sea with Dolphins (1835-40) oil
Peace Burial at Sea (1842) oil
Snow Storm – Steam Boat off Harbour’s Mouth (1842) oil
Wednesday 5 April 2017 John Glover in Tasmania (Speaker: Dr David Hansen, ANU) AGNSW
Naturalist and ornithologist, closely observed new landscape in Australia. Among the earliest Australian landscape painters (emigrated in 1830). Influence of empire to idealise/domesticate an alien landscape into (1) Pastoral arcadia and (2) Aboriginal arcadia (set piece figure groups).
Wednesday 29 March 2017 Conrad Martens and Burragalong Cavern (Speaker: Dr Kathleen Davidson) AGNSW
Martens painted Burragalong Cavern (now called Abercrombie Caves) on site in 1843, an early practitioner of en plein air painting. The painting Stalagmites, Burragalong Cavern is a finished work not a sketch, an actual visual account which captures the mood of place. His work focussed on geology, factual depiction, analytical observation but also naturalism, modernity, the sublime, and elements of the picturesque. In 1833 as ships artist, Martens sailed on the Beagle with Charles Darwin to South America. Darwin’s empirical observation of landscape forms and climatic conditions influenced Martens’ practice.
Wednesday 22 March 2017 For Nation and Empire: George Lambert and Ibrahim Calli at Gallipoli (Speaker: Dr Andrew Yip) AGNSW
Lambert framed the image of frontier and nation and then transported this during his time as official Gallipoli artist. Contrasted with the generation of Turkish modernists (1914) led by Ibrahim çalli,
Wednesday 8 March 2017 Constable: Flatford Mill and the River Stour (Speaker: Lorraine Kypiotis) AGNSW
Landscape as contemplation, sparkle of light, drama of light and shade, natural perspective, fidelity to nature. Followed Claude Lorrain. From about 1814 painted outdoors. For his studies, painted on glass then placed paper over it to obtain the image, then drew grid on the work to use for large scale studio painting. Made full scale oil sketches for six foot paintings. Studied meteorology and produced many studies of clouds used as references for later paintings. Work praised by the French 1824 (in particular Eugène Delacroix) for attention to colour and tone. Inspired the Barbizon school and movement towards realism. Challenged the cannon of art practice in England. The oil sketches now most admired aspect of his work.
Study of the trunk of an elm tree (about 1821), Victoria & Albert Museum
Preparatory study for Flatford Mill (‘Scene on a Navigable River’) (1816-17), Tate Gallery
The White Horse oil sketch (1818-1819), National Gallery of Art, Washington
Wednesday 1 March 2017 Otagaki Rengetsu (Loutus Moon) a Japanese nun in nineteenth century Kyoto (Speaker: Melanie Eastburn) AGNSW
Revered poet, calligrapher, painter, and potter, lived (1791-1875) at he end of the Edo period and during the rise of the Meiji period (from 1868).
Thursday 23 February 2017 Art and Revolution: The Life and Death of the Russian Avant-Garde (Dr Rosamund Bartlett), AGNSW
Art and Terror in Stalinist Russia
From the last utopian dreams to the regimentation of the arts
Socialist realism: a totalitarian aesthetic
Shock brigades and Stakhanovites: the USSR in construction
The avant-garde on trial
Rodchenko – 1928 denounced ‘imperialist photography’
Shostakovich – opera The Nose 1930 – surrealist adventures of a nose. Recent performance directed by Barry Kosky, Royal Opera House, London – video available in full
Gustav Klutsis – photomontage
Pavel Filonov – in the last exhibition of the avant-garde
Aleksandr Deyneka – socialist realist
Aleksandr Gerasimov – socialist realist
Leonid Utyosov – jazz singer and comic actor
Wednesday 22 February 2017 Canaletto (speaker A/Professor David R Marshall) AGNSW
How the representation of a particular place, Venice, became a pictorial genre. Relationship between picture and place. Canaletto developed more graphic style for the British grand tourists (starting arriving around 1726), surveyed the city to create memory of place. Developed linear construction and perspective. Interesting comparison of Canaletto’s rough sketches and constructed drawings probably using camera obscura.
Bacino di S. Marco: From the Piazzetta (c. 1750), National Gallery of Victoria
The Grand Canal near the Ponte del Rialto (1725), Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Thursday 16 February 2017 Art and Revolution: The Life and Death of the Russian Avant-Garde (Dr Rosamund Bartlett), AGNSW
Towards the Cultural Revolution
The Left Front of the Arts and Constructivism in Practice
A New Dialogue with the West: Berlin, Paris
Photomontage and the Revolutionary Art of Film
Rodchenko and Steponova – 1920s design, photomontage, photography
Naum Gabo – metal and glass sculpture replaces traditional materials bronze and marble
Kurt Schwitters – used actual trash, such as broken items and scraps of paper, in his collages
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy – shaped by Dadaism, Suprematism, Constructivism
Sergey Eisenstein – film Battleship Potemkin
Wednesday 15 February 2017 Claude Lorrain (speaker Dr Lisa Beaven) AGNSW
Drawings and paintings of the Roman Campagna (the countryside around Rome). One of the first European plein air painters. Landscape paintings in the context of the topography, environmental history, and social conditions in the 17th century. Most studio work idealised paintings with elements of the Campagna during time of climate change and widespread malaria. Works usually for patrons who had substantial landholdings in the Campagna.
View of Tivoli, 1640-1
View of La Crescenza 1648-50
Thursday 9 February 2017 Art and Revolution: The Life and Death of the Russian Avant-Garde (Dr Rosamund Bartlett), AGNSW
Art Revolution under the Bolsheviks
Suprematism and Constructivism
Wednesday 8 February 2017 Nonggirrnga Marawili: Yathikpa (speaker: Cara Pinchbeck), AGNSW
Bark paintings by Nonggirrnga Marawili, the Art Centre in Yirrkala, northeast Arnhem Land – wind, water, dynamism, living landscapes
Some key art references:
Thursday 2 February 2017 Art and Revolution: The Life and Death of the Russian Avant-Garde (Dr Rosamund Bartlett), AGNSW
A Revolution in Art on the Eve of 1917
Wednesday 1 February 2017 The Power of Place for the Art Gallery of NSW (Dr Michael Brand), AGNSW
Some key art references:
David Moore (1966) Sydney Harbour gelatin silver photograph from 16,000 feet
Brett Whiteley (1975) The Balcony 2
Tate Modern The rules of art according to Rauschenberg (2017)
Frank Auerbach, ArtUK public catalogue (55 artworks)
1973 documentary directed by Emile de Antonio
Dombrovskis collection of Tasmanian wilderness photographs, 1978-1995, National Library of Australia
Gordon Splits, film by wilderness photographer Peter Dombrovskis
Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis, edited excerpt from ABC TV’s Wildness website
Olegas Truchanas Lake Pedder audiovisual collection, National Library of Australia
The Franklin River Blockade – Part 1
The Franklin River Blockade – Part 2
In the Balance: Art for a Changing World, exhibition. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2010, included David Stephenson photographs:
Drowned No. 62 (Lake Gordon, Tasmania)
Drowned No. 176 (Lake Pedder, Tasmania)
Self portrait looking down a survey cut, proposed site of Gordon below Franklin Dam, Tasmania
Turner at the Tate (DVD) – Snow Storm – Steam Boat off Harbour’s Mouth 1842